Wednesday, April 19, 2006

HoC Constitutional Affairs Committee: Freedom of Information: one year on

The final evidence session took place yesterday, 18th April, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs gave evidence

Watch at, click on archive and search under Committees

Some very interesting issues/news/views emerged in her evidence:

- the Section 45 Code of Practice is due for review later in 2006
- On Delay: no "systemic problems"
- On Clearing House transparency: "information must be given in context", committee pressed for greater information about the workings of the clearing house
- Expanded role of the clearing house to cover local government? DCA not suitable- local government could "Develop themselves", with DCA support/advice, will discuss with the Information Commissioner
- Bid for additional resources for the Information Commissioner (see previous post): extra £550,000 to be given by the DCA (plus extra 300K to be saved in efficiency)
- Discussion of whether the IC should report directly to Parliament (instead of DCA), as in Scotland
-Fees review - not yet near the stage of full public consultation - would involve the user group initially (Baroness Ashton's position seemed to be rather unclear on the whole issue)
-Discussion of records management and preservation of digital records

Full transcript should be available in a few weeks

1 comment:

Alasdair Roberts said...

In her April 18 evidence, Baroness Ashton relies primarily on the argument that information about the operation of the DCA Clearing House should not be released under FOIA because it would be misunderstood without appropriate "context." Which exemption within FOIA allows public bodies to withhold information for this reason?